Aside from reading and writing, my other passion is fitness. I've been a certified group fitness instructor for 22 years now, and have taught classes nonstop during that time period--throughout graduate school, 3 moves, and 2 pregnancies. I'm a personal trainer as well, although I prefer the energy and camaraderie of group classes to one-on-one workouts. Being in front of a class and cuing every move helps clear my mind. I cannot possibly dwell on a plot issue that's troubling me when 20 people are expecting a cue every 8 counts. Usually by the time class is over, the endorphins have cleared any blockades, and the answer to "what happens next?" springs to the surface.
Exercise is the way I keep my sanity (what little I have left anyway), so I thought it would be fun to write every once and a while about a few of the tips I share with my class. Today it's about multi-tasking. I'm busy. The gym members who take my class are busy. So I try to pack in as much as I possibly can in an hour, especially during the strength training portion of class. And the benefit is two-fold: not only are you saving time, but working several muscle groups at once will burn major calories. For example, if you are doing squats, grab a Pilates ring and do chest presses at the same time. Or use some hand weights and add an overhead press to your squat.
Other examples include dynamic lunges with a bicep curls, burpees holding hand weights (with flat sides) finishing with an overhead press, or lying with your head and upper back on a stability ball (activating the gluts) while you do triceps extensions.
Of course this is not the recipe for huge muscle mass increases. That's a goal that requires different training and diet. But training several muscle groups at once is a great way to build strength and torch calories in a limited time period.